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The inside scoop on Wisconsin custard

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Michael’s — A local custard institution | @meg_rose_k

With the Dairy Expo moovin’ along + featuring some of the best local dairy production, all of the sweet treats are on our mind. Ice cream, custard, yogurt — you name it, we make it in Wisconsin. After all, our license plates have said America’s Dairyland since 1940. 🐮

Custard first popped up on the scene during the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair + arrived in Milwaukee soon after with the first custard stand — Gilles’. Leon’s, Kopp’s, and Culver’s soon followed to give Wisconsin a robust custard economy.

Leon's frozen custard with neon lights at night

Leon’s Frozen Custard in Milwaukee | Photo by @idriskthefall

There are a few key components that give custard its signature silky smooth texture.

  • An iron lung: The aptly nicknamed industrial ice cream machine keeps custard with less than 25% overrunthat’s the amount of air whipped into the dessert.
  • Egg-cellent yolks: The FDA regulates the ratios of yolks within the sweet treat. Anything less than 1.4% egg yolks + 10% butterfat, and it’s considered ice cream. In fact, in 1932, the Wisconsin Dept. of Agriculture launched a campaign to stop ice cream with lower butterfat from being sold as custard.
  • Lighting fast: The quick-freeze method keeps ice crystals smallto enhance the silky texture — and is served as soon as it’s made to maintain the smoothness.

Looking for the inside scoop on where to get custard in the area?

  • 🍨 Michael’s Frozen Custard — With locations both east and west of the Isthmus, the 35-year-old institution serves up sundaes + twisters with its iconic treat.
  • 🍨 Culver’s — Can’t go wrong with a classic. Culver’s serves up chocolate + vanilla custard with a special flavor each day.
  • 🍨 Wholly Cow! Frozen Custard — Up for a road trip? Outside of Oconomowoc, you’ll find a mom-and-pop owned custard stand.
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